Outbuildings & the law

Outbuildings converted for habitation

Outbuildings have been referred to as 'Sheds with beds' or 'Slough sheds'. They are usually built in the rear gardens of residential properties and may be rented to tenants for sleeping purposes. Many are built in the gardens of "Houses in Multiple Occupation" (HMO). More details on HMO can be found on the multiple occupancy homes page.

They rarely benefit from planning permission or Building Regulations. And those that do, only have permission for a usage other than sleeping purposes.

What's wrong with outbuildings ?

Outbuildings adapted for human habitation tend:

  • not to have planning permission for their usage
  • not have buildings regulations consent
  • to be substandard accommodation
  • to blight our town
  • to attract illegal activity
  • to have illegal structures
  • to have category 1 hazards (this category is what was before known as 'unfit' to live in).

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is a risk assessment tool used to assess potential risks to the health and safety of occupants in residential properties in England and Wales. The legislation came into effect in England on 6 April 2006.

The Department for Communities and Local Government website has a document called:

This is aimed at non-specialists, such as private landlords, to help them understand the requirements under the Housing Act 2004 in relation to the HHSRS. It helps to identify the type of work needed on their properties to conform with the HHSRS.

Does an outbuilding meet legal requirements?

The Planning Portal website gives a planning guide and a visual walk-through of the limits and conditions applied to outbuildings. Remember ALL the limits and conditions must be met for a development to be permitted.

Planning in Slough

The planning team help us control how we use land, what we build and where we build it. The council is responsible for making decisions on planning applications for development in Slough.

Building Control Services

We work with the building regulations which lay down the minimum standards of construction. We make sure buildings are designed to safeguard the:

  • health and safety of users
  • energy conservation
  • access and facilities for disabled people

What are we doing and why

The Housing Standards Team carry out inspections throughout Slough. It is vital to make sure:

  • legal requirements are met
  • residents are safe
  • further such developments are prevented.

Refer an outbuilding that's adapted for human habitation

If you think an outbuilding has been adapted for people to live in, then you can do one of the following: